I have a friend who recently got a job in the mortgage industry. As I understand it the company “helped” people to avoid foreclosure. In spite of the tough job market, he quit the job a short time later. In talking to him I found out it was due to blatant dishonesty including signature forgery. These guys make money by giving people a “second chance” when they near foreclosure. The reality is, they make people renters in their own home and usually end up taking the house anyway.

Today a guy came in to the bank and told me he thought he’d been the victim of fraud. I asked him what happened. He said he thought he’d been hired by a company that wanted him to open a new arm of their business in the area. To get things started they’d make a $500 deposit into his account, then he would need to take $400 and send a MoneyGram to someone. The additional $100 was his to keep as his new hire bonus, or whatever. He did as told, then suddenly noticed that the $500 had been pulled back out of his account, after he’d already sent the $400 MoneyGram. I immediately told him he was the victim of a scam.

The scammers were able to contact this guy via the internet, then have a phone interview and do other things convincing him it was all legitimate. Next they made a deposit to his account with a purposely bad check. Once he saw the deposit, he did as he’d been told, withdrew cash from his account, and sent a MoneyGram from Walmart. The bank I work for sent the check to the bank it was drawn on. They saw that there was no such account number (or something else identifying it as bad) and sent the check back. When a bank can’t collect money from a check deposited, they pull it back out of the account. This poor guy is now out $400. The bad guys: +$400.

I sometimes use the word “hate” lightly. In this instance I’m not: I HATE it when people prey upon the misfortune of others. That’s all the venting I’m going to do, but for all those of you who are out job searching, be careful! In the first instance, it wasn’t too obvious how wrong things were until my friend had been on the inside a little while. In the second instance, it should be obvious. The age-old adage is still true, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” On top of this, never trust any job or offer of any sort if they won’t meet you in person. Also, businesses don’t operate from personal accounts, it actually violates tax law. If someone wants your bank account number for any reason (including to deposit into it), walk away.